Assessment & Inquiry-Based Science Education. Issues is policy and practice

Titre Assessment & Inquiry-Based Science Education. Issues is policy and practice
Wynne Harlen
Book or chapter
Technical report
Publication date
01 January 2013
Editor or Defence place
Global Network of Sciences Academies (IAP) Science Education Programme
Acquisition date
18 February 2013
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The decision to write this book was stimulated by the international conference held in Helsinki, 30 May to 1 June 2012. The conference - jointly planned by the Global Network of Science Academies (IAP), ALLEA (All European Academies), the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and Filand's Science Education Centre (LUMA) - was entitled Developing Inquiry-Based Science Education: New Issues. The issues concerned the roles of assessment in IBSE and the relationship of IBSE with industry. The greater part of the conference was concerned with issues relating to assessment, which is the focus of this book. 


In recent years there has been a rapid expansion of interest in inquiry-based science education (IBSE). Classroom and laboratory practices and materials which encourage students to take an active part in making sense of events and phenomena in the world around are being promoted and developed through pilot projects in countries across the globe. Embracing inquiry-based educaiton recognises its potential to enable students to develop the understandings, competences, attitudes and interests needed by everyone for life in societies increasingly dependent on applications of science. Inquiry leads to knowledge of the particular objects or phenomena investigated, but more importantly, it helps to build broad concepts that have wide explanatory power, enabling new objects or events to be understood. It also engenders reflection on thinking processes and learning strategies that are necessary for continued learning throughout life. There are, however, many challenges in implementing IBSE. Central among these is the assessment of students' learning since this has a strong influence on what is taught and how it is taught.